When I first started my fast for Lent, I never really considered connecting with God on a deeper level. In fact, my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of this:
“I guess I’ll pray more and read the Bible…I can’t eat dinner on Wednesdays anyway, so what else am I gonna do? After all, it is Lent…”
Unfortunately, I underestimated my inner nerdiness and became consumed by all the work I had to do – I found myself studying more instead of reflecting on God and His Word. Sad, I know. My high school self would shake her head at me and wonder how I became so boring.
Anyway, the endless amount of homework, tests, papers, and quizzes eventually took its toll and I found myself burnt out. Why do professors insist on thinking that their class is the only one that matters? And don’t even get me started on the LSAT. It will seriously consume your soul and suck the life out of you. I swear, humans are being taken over by mean aliens who can transform into people and convince real humans that tests are a good way to measure the population’s intelligence. Then they sit back and laugh at our pain. Horrible, mean aliens.
Must get back on track. Right.
In any case, I finally decided one day that I should read a quick devotional, and then I could get back to my work. I never suspected that I would end up spending more than 10 minutes on that devotional. And because it really impacted me, I’ll copy and paste it so that you, my dear reader, can be impacted too:
“When you buy a nice piece of jewelry, it is often tucked into a setting of black- or dark-colored velvet. I think it’s designed that way so that your attention is immediately drawn to the beauty of the jewelry. If the packaging were highly decorated, it would compete with the beauty of the treasure.
It reminds me of Paul’s comments about the ministry of Jesus through us, when he said, “We have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7 niv). It’s easy to forget that we are the packaging and His work is the treasure. So we adorn our jars of clay, taking credit for the things we do to serve Christ. We seek to bring glory to ourselves when we’ve forgiven someone, or shown mercy, or given generously. The problem is, when we start seeking affirmation and praise for good deeds, we compete with the brilliance of the treasure of God working through us.
When we do things for Christ, it’s not about us but about His glory. The less obvious we are, the more brilliant He becomes. Which is why, Paul says, the treasure has been put in jars of clay so that God would be the one to be glorified. Besides, since when are jars of clay significant? It’s what’s inside that counts!”
– odb.org –
After reading, I sat back in my chair, and stared blankly at my computer screen. What had I been doing? What was my inside? Was it God shining through, or was it my attempt at being one of the best clay jars ever without holding any actual treasure? (Imagine kid crafts where I just stick on those fake jeweled hearts and diamonds haha). Those fake jeweled hearts and diamonds may represent my “achievements,” academic, non-academic, etc., but they would not have been achieved without God’s blessings and grace. Instead, I realized that I should strive to be a simple, clay jar that holds gold, pearls, silver — God. He’s the purest treasure there is, and I need to let His quiet brilliance and majestic beauty shine through me.
In other words, I saw that I had been overzealous in focusing on my work. Although my original intent had been to glorify God, I had forgotten Him in the process. Getting all the “A’s” in the world would mean nothing without Him in my life.
Ultimately, an overdecorated, empty, clay jar is worthless and becomes gaudy. The treasure, on the other hand, is what makes the simple, clay jar beautiful.
– Faith C.
2nd Corinthians 4:7-10
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.